Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Collective Wisdom

I've been reading a wonderful new book by New Yorker writer James Surowiecki called "The Wisdom of Crowds." It is Sorowecki's paean to that much-maligned commodity called collective wisdom.
In it, he posits that the mass of people are usually right and that they are wonderful predictors of outcomes. In fact, better predictors that public opinion polls, that emit writ-large results from small samples.
Collective wisdom is the idea that drives such projects as the Iowa Electronic Markets, where people place bet on outcomes of (to give one example) political races.
I have my own version of the Iowa market -- albeit with a much smaller crowd. It's my Be A Pundit Contest, where I offer prizes to the person who can come closest to predicting the outcome of today's U.S. Senate and gubernatorial race.
To put it another way, I've got my own crowd and I've taken their bets, added them up and divided them by the number of entries to come up with their collective wisdom on the races.
Here are the results of that mathematical exercise.
We can check it against actual results tomorrow.

U.S. Senate
Bob Casey Jr. 54.5%
Rick Santorum 45.5%

Ed Rendell 59.4%
Lynn Swann 40.6%

Total votes: 3,810,000


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read much Isaac Asimov?

4:06 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home